Malaysian firm keen on setting up kenaf plantations in PH | Inquirer Business

Malaysian firm keen on setting up kenaf plantations in PH

/ 05:04 PM October 07, 2022

Malaysia-based Kenaf Venture Global (KVG) is considering putting up multiple kenaf plantations in the Philippines, with an initial investment plan of $100 million for a 10,000-hectare farm which can generate about three hundred jobs.

This forms part of the company’s bigger plan to expand operations in Asia.


KVG chief executive officer and co-founder Jazman Shahar Abdollah said they were already looking at three pieces of land in Mindanao and Luzon after conducting two ocular visits in the country.

“We have identified a few lands where we can start cultivating and doing the planting in the Philippines,” Abdollah said, citing in particular that they are looking for flat lands in places with tropical and sub-tropical climate where the plant can grow under ideal conditions.


Aside from the Philippines, Abdollah said they were also in the process of putting up plantations in other neighboring countries including Indonesia and Thailand. Their existing farms are in Malaysia and Cambodia.

The kenaf plant is a fast-growing crop under the hibiscus family that can grow to a height of 20 feet if tended well.

The body or stem of the plant is harvested for the bark and core, which can be processed further for use in making a variety of products from mattresses to vehicle insulation and bicycle frames, as well as simpler things like rope, sack and paper.

Philippines as a suitable location

The KVG executive said that places in the Philippines where rice and banana can grow without issues is a good indicator that kenaf plants can thrive in the country.

He added that the prospective places they have surveyed in Mindanao were also safe from typhoons, which the Philippines experiences about 20 times in a given year on the average.

“We also have kenaf seeds that can survive a few months under water,” he said, adding that they were still determining which type of kenaf seeds among sixteen varieties should be planted in future Philippine plantations.

Abdollah added that kenaf is also resilient when it comes to pests, saying that while pesticide can be used to prevent infestation, a damaged crop can still be harvested and used since only its leaves are eaten by insects leaving the stem mostly intact.


He said Kenaf plants can also be harvested a hundred days after planting, which makes two or three planting and harvest cycles possible within a year.

“In this business, we can do three cycles, which is more profitable. But if we want to do long-term business then we have to take care of the soil. That means that we cannot exhaust it,” Abdollah said, saying that two planting and harvesting cycles a year were ideal.

Setting up factories

Abdollah said they were also intending to put up factories in the Philippines that could process the harvested plants, which would entail an additional  investment of about $20 million to $25 million.

“After harvesting and within 24 hours, we need to bring that to the factory. At the factories, we use a few technologies. It depends on what we need at the end of the process,” said Abdollah.

Abdollah said they were planning to reach out to local firms to see what end products they could produce that have local demand in the Philippines.

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